This winter storm is going to take another day or so to lose its grip on northwest iowa. The wind has blown up large drifts across northern Iowa, rendering roads across Lyon, Sioux, Osceola, and O’Brien impassable. In Plymouth County, Iowa Highway 60, US 75, both north of Le Mars, and all of Iowa Highway 3 carry no travel advisories. A Blizzard Warning remains in effect until 6 a.m. Saturday. A Wind Chill Warning remains in effect until noon Saturday. Tonight, there will be areas of blowing snow. Air temp will drop to a low of -11, while wind chills may reach -35. Saturday will bring patchy blowing snow, and still cold temperatures with a high near zero. Saturday night will remain cold, with a low of -15. Christmas Day will bring a break in the weather, with a high of 12 degrees.
LIGHT FROM LUCAS
The leader of a Christian conservative group has added chapters to a book he wrote in 2007 about his profoundly disabled son, Lucas. Bob Vander Plaats is president and C-E-O of The Family Leader.
Lucas — the third son of Vander Plaats and his wife, Darla — was born with a rare brain disorder that required 24 hour care. He died just before Thanksgiving last year at the age of 28. The book “Light from Lucas” has the subtitle of “Lessons in Faith from a Fragile Life.”
In the book’s recently added chapters, Vander Plaats discusses his son’s final days and his family’s farewell.
Vander Plaats says the book’s publisher is making plans for him, his wife and sons as well as Lucas’ caregiver to read their story aloud — since audio books are a growing market. Vander Plaats says one of his sons recently spoke about a lesson he learned of having a brother with profound disabilities.
Vander Plaats was a high school principle and coach at MMC and Later Sheldon, when Lucas was born in 1993. Vander Plaats switched careers and took a job as executive of Oppotrunities Unlimited of Sioux City, which provides therapy and residential services to individuals with profound physical and intellectual disabilities. Vander Plaats ran for governor in 2002 and 2006. He’s been president and C-E-O of the The Family Leader since 2010.
SHOP WITH A COP
The Plymouth County Sheriffs Office held a first time event Wednesday night. Sheriff Jeff Te Brink explains.
It was a fun time for the students, and the officers.
Funding for this event came from a special sheriffs fund.
Shop with a Cop is a new event for the Sheriffs Office.
The Le Mars Police Department last week held a Shop with a Cop night for students from Le Mars Community and Gehlen Catholic schools. This is the first time the Sheriffs Office has sponsored a Christmas shopping night for students from greater Plymouth County.
IOWANS BACK McCARTHY
The four Iowans who’ll be serving in the U.S. House next year all back California Congressman Kevin McCarthy’s bid for House Speaker. A few conservative House Republicans say they won’t vote for McCarthy and their opposition currently blocks McCarthy’s ability to be speaker next month. Second district Congresswoman Ashley Hinson of Marion says McCarthy put in the work to secure a G-O-P majority in the House and he’ll ensure House Republicans deliver on their campaign promises. Congressman-elect Zach Nunn of Bondurant, who’ll represent the third district next year, says McCarthy is a pragmatic leader who will hold D.C. accountable. First district Congresswoman Mariannette Miller-Meeks of LeClaire and fourth district Congressman Randy Feenstra of Hull are also backing McCarthy for speaker.
USDA NAMES IOWA NATIVE
The U.S. Senate has confirmed the appointment of a northeast Iowa native to a key role in the U-S Department of Agriculture. Alexis Taylor, who grew up on a farm near Holy Cross, is now the Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs in the U-S-D-A. During a confirmation hearing in late September, Taylor told senators she’d work to remove trade barriers and ensure countries adhere to science-based regulations. Taylor also said she expects to work on the international food crisis created by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Taylor is a 2005 graduate of Iowa State University and veteran of the Iraq War. She worked in the U-S-D-A’s Farm and Foreign Agricultural Services division before being appointed director of Oregon’s Department of Agriculture in 2016.
LEGAL MARIJUANA NOT A PRIORITY
Marijuana has been sold for recreational use in Illinois for nearly two years and just this month it became legal to sell, use and possess marijuana in Missouri — but the Republican-led Iowa legislature is unlikely to mimic those moves. House Speaker Pat Grassley says marijuana legalization just wasn’t a campaign issue.
Senate Republican Leader Jack Whitver says under federal law, it’s still illegal to bring marijuana across state lines — and he doesn’t expect any changes in Iowa’s program that licenses growers and the dispensaries which sell cannabis products for a list of specific medical conditions.
In October, Democrats running for seats in the Iowa House called for legalizing marijuana in Iowa. House Democratic Leader Jennifer Konfrst (KON-first) says it will still be a priority issue for Democrats in 2023.
A Des Moines Register Iowa Poll conducted last March found 54 percent of the adults surveyed were in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Last month, 53 percent of Missouri voters approved a constitutional amendment that legalized recreational marijuana in Missouri.